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India raises market access, barriers issue with Indonesia

Sep 26, 2017

India today raised the issue of market access and regulatory barriers that its companies are facing in Indonesia in sectors such as pharma, dairy and bovine meat, the commerce ministry said today.
 
The issues were discussed during a meeting between Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu and his Indonesian counterpart Enggartiasto Lukita here.
 
The ministry in a statement said that the Indonesian side has agreed to conduct inspection visits for registering dairy products, fresh food of plant origin and meat processing facilities.
 
The issue of market access to automotive and auto components manufactured in India was raised, along with the greater investment opportunities for joint ventures, textile machinery manufacturing, textile parks and Special Economic Zones, it said.
 
It added that the ministers agreed to deepen economic cooperation by having greater cooperation of stakeholders, including government, business and entrepreneurs.
 
Both the ministers agreed to hold a meeting of regulators to resolve issues concerning the pharma and health sectors, it said.
 
Further the ministers agreed for convening early meeting of the working groups on trade and investment; and trade facilitation and remedies to address the issues impeding trade.
 
These working groups will also look into facilitation of services and areas of mutual interest between both the countries, it said.
 
We agreed to promote business on both sides which will benefit our citizens. We also agreed to explore new areas of cooperation, Prabhu said in a tweet.
 
Talking to reporters, he said both the sides agreed to work together to promote business, exports and imports.
 
We have already identified areas where there are certain issues ... so we have decided to set up working groups to address those issues immediately, he said.
 
Lukita said that he had a frank and open meeting with the Indian trade minister.
 
He said that working groups can discuss issues over video calls. If there is anything to resolve at minister's level, we can call each other also, he added.
 
The bilateral trade between the countries increased to USD 16.92 billion in 2016-17 from USD 15.95 billion in the previous fiscal. The trade is highly in the favour of Indonesia.
    
Source: Zeebiz



Govt wants to create separate segment for MSP sales within e-NaM portal

Sep 26, 2017

The Centre is in favour of creating a separate segment within the existing electronic National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) portal to record purchases done under the Minimum Support Price (MSP) mechanism segregated from online bidding.
 
Though in principle, officials said it is opposed to the whole practice given that selling of agriculture produce at pre-determined MSP through the e-NAM portal belies the entire concept of price discovery through open competitive bidding and superficially jacks up the quantum of total transactions. It might, however, be entirely unavoidable as it also ensures transparency in payment to farmers.
 
The matter came to light after some states showed a huge jump in transactions made through the e-NAM portal after they started showing purchases done under MSP operations through the platform.
 
In a programme review conducted by the Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh along with the state officials on Wednesday, emphasis was laid on the prohibition of physical trading of commodities in any form in mandis (local markets) that have installed the e-NAM software.
 
It was also noted in the review that a majority of transactions done through the e-NAM portal so far were based on single bids, which again goes against the very logic of a proper price discovery framework.
 
The states were also directed to totally discontinue the practice of 'one-to-one trade' under which the seller brings his or her produce to a pre-fixed buyer, who then buys as per the fixed rate without any competitive mechanism either online or through the outcry method.
 
Since the official launch of the e-NAM portal on September 15 2017, a total of 455 local markets across 13 states have been brought under the e-NAM platform. A total of 11.7 million tonnes of commodities with a net worth of around  Rs 28,000 crore have been traded through the platform.
 
Meanwhile, Radha Mohan Singh, in his address to the participating states, urged state officials to spread awareness about e-trading among farmers.
 
He said that some states were encouraging farmers to participate by incentivising online trade.
 
He also spoke about meeting the basic requirements of laboratories located in mandis to boost their trading capacities.
    
Source: Business Standard



ICRISAT’s Agribusiness Start-up Accelerator Programme to start on Oct 6

Sep 26, 2017

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics’ (ICRISAT) Agri-Business Incubator (ABI), in association with The Entrepreneur Zone (TEZ), a start-up accelerator based in Hyderabad, will offer an Agribusiness Start-up Accelerator Programme every Friday and Saturday for 20 days, starting on October 6, 2017.
 
Keeping in mind the shift in the global agri-business landscape and the need to accelerate agri-tech innovation, the capacity-building programme will offer training sessions on how to start and manage businesses in the agribusiness sector.
 
It will include mentorship from industry experts, access to technology and business development assistance, as well as general business modules related to start-up management and those in agri-business. 
 
Aspiring entrepreneurs, students, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), professionals, consultants, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and anyone wishing to start an enterprise in agri-business domains, such as food and fibre processing, poultry, aquaculture, floriculture, farm technology and agricultural supply chain management, may apply for the programme on TEZ’s website by September 25, 2017.
    
Source: FNB News



South Indian mills surrender import quota

Sep 26, 2017

A significant portion of the raw sugar import quota allowed to South Indian sugar mills are being surrendered as imports are unviable and the deadline not practical, according to reliable sources.
 
On the last day today for surrendering the quotas allocated to them with a 0.5 per cent penalty, a number of mills have opted out of imports. At least one-third of the 3-lakh tonnes of raw sugar permitted to be imported through a September 7 order by the Exim Facilitation Committee are being surrendered.
 
A major portion of this will be by mills in Tamil Nadu followed by those in Karnataka.
 
To manage the huge shortfall in sugar production anticipated for the 2017-18 season in Tamil Nadu, the Centre had allowed an import of 3-lakh tonnes at an import duty of 25 per cent.
 
The imports were permitted through ports in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, which got the lion’s share, and some quantity was to come through Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.
 
According to senior executives in the know, out of the 10 days allowed for purchase orders, there were just 5-6 working days. Sugar mills need at least three weeks to close a deal. There were also issues of vessel availability, congestion at ports and voyage time, they said.
 
Mills in Tamil Nadu were allowed about 1.40-lakh tonnes of import; Karnataka 1.10-lakh tonnes; Andhra Pradesh 34,000 tonnes; and Maharashtra 5,900 tonnes. Tamil Nadu mills, which are staring at just about 20-30 per cent of capacity utilisation due to sugarcane shortage, were hoping this would provide some relief. But more than half the import quota allowed for the State was being surrendered. Karnataka mills are likely to surrender about 20-25 per cent, sources said.
 
When imports were allowed a couple of weeks back, sugar was selling at about Rs.38 a kg, and mills estimated they would be able to turn a profit of about Rs.1-1.50 a kg on the processed raw sugar. But sugar prices are now down to Rs.36.50 a kg, said a company official. Plus, raw sugar prices are increasing, and the rupee had also moved to Rs.65 against the dollar compared with Rs.63 earlier.
    
Source: The Hindu Business Line



PM sets up five-member Economic Advisory Council under Bibek Debroy

Sep 26, 2017

With the economy yet to bounce back from the impact of demonetisation and the roll out of the Goods and Services Tax, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday set up an Economic Advisory Council.
 
The five-member Council led by NITI Aayog Member Bibek Debroy is on the lines of the PM Economic Advisory Council under the previous UPA government.
 
According to an official release, it would address issues of macroeconomic importance and present views to the Prime Minister either suo motu or on reference from the Prime Minister or anyone else.
 
The Council would also analyse and advise the Prime Minister on any issue referred to them by him and also attend to any other task assigned to them.
 
Surjit Bhalla, Chairman and MD of Oxus Investments; Rathin Roy, Director NIPFP; Ashima Goyal, Professor, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research; will be its part time members.
 
Ratan Watal, former Finance Secretary and Principal Advisor, NITI Aayog, will be the Member Secretary to the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister.
 
The move comes at a time when there is less than two years left for the General Elections in 2019 and a slew of State elections starting later this year.
 
However, economic indicators are muted with GDP growth in the first quarter of the fiscal at a three year low of 5.7 per cent.
 
Private investments too have been depressed and the Centre is finding its difficult to expand public spending further due to its deficit goalposts.
    
Source: The Hindu Business Line



Govt sees 24% jump in sugar output to 25 mn tonnes in 2017–18

Sep 26, 2017

The government is expecting about 24 per cent increase in the country’s total sugar output to around 25 million tonnes in the marketing year beginning next month on likely higher output in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra following good rains, an official source said.
 
This is an initial projection based on the inputs of the state governments. The estimate, however, is in line with the industry body ISMA’s projection.
 
The country’s sugar output in the ongoing 2016–17 marketing year (October–September) is estimated to be lower at 20.2 million tonnes because of poor rains. India is the world’s second biggest sugar producer.
 
In a meeting with state cane commissioners called by the Union Food Ministry, official sources said that state governments have submitted the sugar production figures after assessing the likely sugarcane output and recovery level.
 
Based on their inputs, the country’s overall sugar output is expected to be around 25 million tonnes in 2017–18 marketing year, the sources said.
 
Higher sugar output is projected on likely increase in cane production and better recovery in the country’s three major producing states Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka.
 
The Uttar Pradesh government has submitted sugar output to be 10.2 million tonnes in the 2017–18 marketing year, higher than 8.77 million tonnes to be achieved this year. Since there was cane sowing area difference in the state data, the UP government has been asked to re-check the acreage and submit the final estimates in a day or two, the sources said.
 
In case of Maharashtra, the state expects sugar output in the range of 6.8–7.4 million tonnes in 2017–18, as against 3.24 million tonnes this year due to good rains.
 
Sugar mills normally start crushing operations after Diwali, but the central government has asked them to advance. There are around 500 mills in the country.
 
As per the first advance estimate of the agriculture ministry, sugarcane output might increase to 337.69 million tonnes this year from 306.72 million tonnes last year on account of good rains. Sugarcane cultivation in both Maharashtra and Karnataka is largely rainfed unlike Uttar Pradesh where it is irrigated.
    
Source: The Hindu Business Line



Govt in process of changing economic environment: FM

Sep 26, 2017

Acknowledging the dip in the country's growth rate, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday said that the government was in the process of undertaking measures to change the environment and provide a boost to the Indian economy.
 
The growth rate has been fine except in the last quarter, where there has been a little dip in the GDP growth rate. During April-June, services sector improved, but manufacturing brought it (growth) down, he told reporters at the ongoing BJP National Executive Meet.
 
Pulled down by sluggish manufacturing, growth in the Indian economy in the first quarter of this fiscal fell to 5.7 percent, clocking the lowest GDP growth rate since Prime Minister Narendra Modi assumed office in May 2014.
 
Whatever steps are required to change the environment we are certainly in the process of addressing them,Jaitley added.
 
The Finance Minister said that the environment was a result of three factors.
 
This (low growth rate is due to three factors - (low) investment by private sector, which is also related to the ability of banks to support growth. Since GST (Goods and Service Tax) was announced to be rolled out from July 1, de-stocking took place in June and July. It resulted in higher sales, so services in fact went up, he said.
 
The government is said to be considering a financial stimulus package following a sharp fall in latest key macro indicators such as the gross domestic product (GDP) and industrial production as well as a widening current account deficit.
 
On September 19, Jaitley had chaired a high-level meeting to review the economic situation and possibly discuss a financial stimulus package as the remedy for falling growth rate. The meeting was attended by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu, Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian and Secretaries in the Finance Ministry -- Ashok Lavasa, Subhash Chandra Garg, Hasmukh Adhia, Rajiv Kumar and Neeraj Kumar Gupta.
    
Source: SME Time



India, South Korea discussing ways to upgrade free trade agreement

Sep 26, 2017

India and South Korea are discussing ways to upgrade the existing free trade agreement with a view to boost trade and investments, a government official said today. 
 
India and South Korea have implemented the trade pact in January 2010, which is officially known as Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). 
 
Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu was in Seoul last week to participate in the ministerial review of the India Korea CEPA with his Korean counterpart Hyun Chong Kim. 
 
Both the sides want to upgrade the existing agreement. We have exchanged request lists which are under discussions to widen the scope of the pact. What needs to be tweaked in the current pact, we are looking at that, the official said. 
 
Review of the CEPA assumes significance as domestic industry has raised certain concerns over the utilisation of the agreement and sudden surge in gold imports from Korea.
 
Upgradation or widening of any free trade agreement means better utilisation of the existing pact and inclusion or elimination of more number of goods.
 
 
    
Source: The Economic Times



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